I have heard both ¡Felicidades! and ¡Felicitaciones! as translations of the interjection, "Congratulations!"

What is the difference between the two, and when is each used?


He escuchado ¡Felicidades! y ¡Felicitaciones! ambas como traducciones de la interjección "Congratulations!".

¿Cuál es la diferencia entre las dos y cuándo se usa cada una?

  • 3
    And where does enhorabuena fit in? Commented Feb 4, 2012 at 6:49
  • 1
    we don't use very often "en hora buena" in my country..but is an expression of happiness, it is a way to say congratulations..but like remarking that something good finally happen.
    – cayerdis
    Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 5:38

9 Answers 9


Felicidades and felicitaciones are practically always interchangeable. A native Spanish friend of mine couldn't really tell me the difference

If I had to translate them to show the difference I would use:

¡Felicitaciones! - Congratulations!

¡Felicidades! - I wish you happiness!

I found a good example from another site that says:

"Por ejemplo si vos querés felicitar a alguien que tuvo un bebé le decís Felicitaciones y si le decís Felicidades le estás, además de felicitándolo, augurando felicidad."


They are different statements. The difference is very subtle but they are not the same. However, people will use them today interchangeably. Felicidades is more general, familiar and is use for occasions like during a celebration, birthday, new year's eve. Felicitaciones is more commonly use when someone gives you good news. For example: I got a new job, I will get married. It is more formal.

  • 3
    +1 for "felicitaciones" related to good news. Commented May 16, 2013 at 15:15
  • A Chilean gentleman (in his seventies) who I've worked for usually says, as a farewell: "¡chau, felicidades!"
    – Conrado
    Commented Apr 18, 2020 at 4:06

In my experience (Argentina), there is a correlation with both (related) meanings of congratulate:

  1. Give (someone) one's good wishes when something special or pleasant has happened to them. => "Desear felicidades" (also "Felicitar")
  2. Praise (someone) for a particular achievement. => "Felicitar"

As an exclamation, "¡Felicidades!" is used more for the first meaning (= "Te deseo felicidades"), while "¡Felicitaciones!" is used more for the second (="Te felicito")

Their uses overlap, though, and vary with regions and ages.


In Spain we always use 'felicidades'. 'Felicitaciones' is very uncommon and a lot of people will say that word doesn't even exist in that context.

However, 'felicitación' (singular form) is used. From the RAE:


  1. f. Acción y efecto de felicitar.

  2. f. Tarjeta postal, telegrama, etc., con que se felicita.


Le envié una felicitación navideña (I sent him/her a Christmas card)

  • 2
    What about enhorabuena?
    – jrdioko
    Commented Feb 6, 2012 at 21:57
  • 3
    Probably it deserves its own question. But short response is that is very much like 'felicidades', but more formal. Commented Feb 7, 2012 at 19:25

Una graduación, un ascenso en el trabajo, un premio ganado, cualquier victoria o logro, evoca el saludo “¡Felicitaciones!” (When you graduate, get a promotion, win an award, use "Felicitaciones")

En cambio, momentos trascendentes de la condición humana, del ciclo anual o los grandes pasajes vitales —el nacimiento de un hijo, un cumpleaños, una boda, Navidad y Año Nuevo— “¡Felicidades!” (When a baby is born, you get married, it's Christmas or New Year's eve you say "Felicidades"). Trust me, I'm a Language(SP.Argentina) and EFL(English as a Foreign Language) teacher.


The main difference between these two words is that while felicitación is an act of praise or congratulation, felicidad refers to the blessed state of the human heart, happiness.

Therefore, "¡Felicitaciones!" is often used on graduation, promotion, award, victory, or achievement. Its alternative word is “¡Enhorabuena!”.

And “¡Felicidades!” is used on birthday, wedding, birth of a child, New Year, etc. to inspire a wish for much happiness.

For example:

  • Congratulations on your graduation! - ¡Felicitaciones por tu graduación!

  • Congratulations on your new job! - ¡Felicitaciones por tu nuevo trabajo!

  • Congratulations on your wedding! - Felicidades por tu boda

Reference: How do you say congratulations in Spanish

  • 1
    Aunque esta no es una respuesta "link only", ya que trae las partes relevantes del sitio enlazado, tampoco tiene contenido propio. En el futuro intenta por favor añadir contenido propio en tus posts.
    – Diego
    Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 16:37

I agree with several of the answerers above on that "felicitaciones" is not the same as "felicidades". Although some people use both expressions interchangeably, "felicitaciones" is more frequently used to congratulate someone on an achievement, when there's personal merit behind an event or action, whereas "felicidades" is used in cases when the person being congratulated is not necessarily responsible for the event or action in question.


En español también se puede decir "congratular":


Del lat. congratulāri.

  1. tr. Alegrar a alguien o producirle alegría. Me congratula oírte.

  2. tr. Felicitar a alguien o darle la enhorabuena. Congratuló a sus adversarios. U. m. en Am.

  3. prnl. Sentir alegría o satisfacción por algo. Se congratula de tu triunfo.

  • 1
    Bienvenido Andrés. Esto es correcto. Buen aporte... aunque la pregunta es más sobre la diferencia entre felicidades y felicitaciones. Tal vez si adicionas lo que opinas si congratulaciones se parece más a felicidades o a felicitaciones te quede mejor la respuesta.
    – DGaleano
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 19:42

"Felicitaciones" may also mean "Greetings" depending on the context in which it is used.

  • 1
    That seems to conflict with the previous answers and you give no details of why you think it is correct. Can you edit it please to clarify and give more details?
    – mdewey
    Commented May 13, 2023 at 12:28
  • Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
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    Commented May 14, 2023 at 8:56

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